All posts tagged: Recovery

Do Not Disturb (My Recovery)

It’s been six months since I last wrote a post for Bottles Down. I didn’t make a conscious plan to take a break. I didn’t stop because I feared I had revealed information too personal (that ship sailed back in 2011) or because I was bothered by the attention I received. In fact, I felt the exact opposite — the feedback I got was nothing short of astounding; never in my life had I felt such a consistent wash of concern, encouragement and hope as a result of something that I wrote. And even the criticisms were valuable — it’s important for me to be reminded that I can follow my heart and take risks, and that I won’t shatter if someone disagrees with me. Despite all of those positives, however, new ideas for this column would not come. Weeks passed, I had nothing. I attributed my dry well to severe writer’s block, something I’m STILL struggling with today (if I’m honest, even writing this post is painstaking). I’d never really understood the concept of …

Why I Was Ungrateful For Those Gratitude Lists

For many years, you could spare me your gratitude lists. I didn’t want any of that manufactured positivity. I didn’t believe in it, couldn’t abide by it. The last thing I needed was your swirly font and numbered reasons to dig life, doubling as a reminder of all of the things I didn’t have. Then, faced with a choice to change everything or die, I quit drinking. The first person who really helped me understand how to live as a sober person asked me to send her a gratitude list as soon as I woke up every day. It wasn’t really negotiable. She told me a grateful person had a better chance of not drinking, and my desire to quit was bigger than my hatred of gratitude lists. l had also opened my big mouth and told her I would try anything to get better, so I shut up and sent her five things (mostly) every morning, in a plain black font text thread. My gratitude lists include being alive and they often include coffee, as some mornings …

In the Army, Out with PTSD: One Vet’s Story of Survival

Jennifer Crane, today, is able to find peace. (Photo: Damiano Beltrami/Vimeo) Jennifer Crane’s resume should truly read, “been to hell and back.” Enlisting in the army at 17, Crane’s first day of basic training happened to be on September 11, 2001. After deployment to Afghanistan — and suffering through a severe period of depression and dehydration — Crane returned to her hometown of Downingtown, PA in 2003 to a life she didn’t recognize. She battled nightmares, confusion and PTSD. Ultimately drugs beckoned and she distanced herself from family, friends, and began living out of her car. Fast forward 11 years, and Jennifer’s life has drastically changed — for the better. She’s a mom to two kids, works as a nurse, spends much of her time helping other veterans, and even met the First Lady just last month. But her journey was a rough one … How did you spend Memorial Day? I spent it with my family at the park. We just enjoyed the sun and good company. I try not to focus too much …

Women Who Inspire: Elizabeth Vargas

NAME: Elizabeth Vargas AGE: 51 OCCUPATION: Anchor of ABC’s 20/20 and primary host of ABC News specials WHO SHE IS: Elizabeth Vargas is a seasoned television journalist, as well as the first woman since Connie Chung to anchor a network evening newscast in the U.S. (She’s also the first woman of Puerto Rican and Irish-American heritage to anchor a nightly newscast period). She’s also an alcoholic. I don’t believe Vargas would mind me mentioning the latter — in January of 2014, she went public with her illness, after spending years struggling with and hiding her disease from her employers, friends and family. Her admission set off a blast of both media scrutiny and public admiration, however she’s remained steadfast in her resolve, even prompting the often impenetrable Barbara Walters to apologize for a comment she made regarding Vargas’ behavior while she was still drinking. WHY SHE INSPIRES ME: As a women in recovery myself (and one who writes openly about my illness), Vargas is a not only a role model, but a constant reminder of the importance …

6 Movies That Don’t Shy Away From Addiction

(Photo Credit: Andy Kropa) Unlike our fabulous Piers Marchant, a seasoned movie reviewer I am not. However, I have seen my fair share of films about alcoholism and drug abuse (three stints in rehab, where weekly “Movie Nights” consist solely of anti-addiction flicks, will leave you with a vast viewing history). And obviously, I now have an honest interest in the subject matter myself. The following rundown are films that I feel address the disease of addiction in a way that’s both entertaining and realistic. (Or at least do a hell of a good job trying, as far as Hollywood will allow). They are the antithesis of 28 Days, the Sandra-Bullock-goes-to-rehab vehicle that, despite some good performances, pretty much wraps everything up into a nice, neat bow by the time the credits roll. These movies don’t let the disease get off so easy. While there’s hope (and why shouldn’t there be? we have to have hope to stay sober), there is also no bullshit. We know that the protagonists’ problems will not magically disappear once …

I Used to Buy Booze as a Gift. Now I’m Sober. WTF Do I Do?

It’s funny, I once heard someone say how there are literally hundreds of words for the term “drunk” (smashed, sloshed, over-served, sauced, wasted, tipsy, tanked—you get the idea), but only one word for not being drunk — sober. And that kind of sucks, because the word “sober” doesn’t imply fun and frivolity. Rather, as the dictionary states, its alternative meaning is “having or showing a very serious attitude or quality.” But that’s just NOT true! Of course, getting sober is painful and certainly no walk in the park, but we are NOT a glum lot — people in recovery are funny, silly, clever and full of life. It sounds so incredibly cheesy (and I hate cheesy) but it’s true: the gift of sobriety is the most wonderful gift one could ever receive (in my opinion, at least). Thing is, you can’t give it to someone. As much as you can hope and help and try to point people in the right direction, it’s up the alcoholic to open her eyes, see her situation for what …